What You Should Eat Before A Run? Check Them Out!

Whether you are an ultramarathoner or a neighborhood jogger, it is essential to fuel your body to begin the endurance training.

Eating well before running prevents plague and fatigue amid the workout. It can also have a direct impact on performance.

This article tells you what you need to eat before going for a run. 

Why Do You Need To Eat Before a Run?

Eat Before a Run

Any form of stamina building or endurance training requires special consideration to pre-run and intra-run nutrition.

It is important to fuel your body the right way to get the best out of each mile. The foods you eat before running helps build the glycogen stores. 

They give the necessary energy throughout the workout. As you increase the mileage, your body needs additional extra fuel. Due to this reason, it is also vital to incorporate the right kinds of foods into your diet.

When Should You Eat Before A Run?

Eat Before A Run

You need to eat foods such that it doesn’t make you feel starved or stuffed.

You should not eat just before a run as it can result in cramping or side stitches. But if you run on an empty stomach, it may deplete you of energy and leave you fatigued during the runs.

As everyone’s body composition is different, finding out when and what to eat before running takes time. 

In the duration of half an hour to one hour leading up to a run, you should stick with a carbohydrate-dense snack.
A few running experts suggest a light meal before 11/2 or 2 hours before the run, or a light snack half an hour before running. 
For runs lasting over more than 90 minutes, fuel up with sports beverages during the race.
Keep fiber and fat consumption low in the pre-run snack and meal to give your body the appropriate time to absorb and metabolize them.
Consuming carbs an hour before a workout potentially harms performance compared to eating carbs two to three hours before exercise. Studies showed that people who ate carb-dense, moderate-protein meals three to four hours before running could perform long duration and high-intensity running easily.

What Foods Should I Eat?

Different people have different food tolerance; there is no one size fits all regarding pre-run fuelling. A runner should experiment during your training workouts and runs to find what fuelling strategy works for them.

Here are a few general guidelines to follow when preparing for a pre-run meal or snack.

If you have a moderate level workout moderate (<1 hr), you do not necessarily have to eat. This is because your body has adequate “stored glycogen” to produce energy for that kind of run.

For a longer and intense workout, you need to focus on including carb and protein-based moderate meals.

The recommended pre-run snack is the one that is convenient to digest. It offers instant fuel to the body. Foods that are high in carbs are the best, as carbs metabolize into glucose.

This compound circulates in the blood and serves as the primary source of energy. It gets deposited as ready to use glycogen in the liver and muscles.

Here is a complete list of foods that you should consume as a pre-run snack/meal:

Eat Before a Run

• Whole grains (pasta, bread, and quinoa)

• Lean proteins (salmon and eggs)

• Fresh fruit (blueberries, oranges, and bananas)

• Low-fat yogurt

• Almonds

• Peanut butter and almond butter on whole-wheat bread

• Oatmeal and berries

• Carrots and cheese stick

• A whole-grain toast with one tablespoon of nut butter and 1/4 avocado

Prefer real foods over shakes, gels, and bars. Before you incorporate these foods, you should know that the ideal calorie needs for a pre-run meal are 300 to 400 calories.

This amount of calories should be consumed two hours before the run. So, incorporate the above foods so that the calorie needs to stay within this limit.

How Much Carb Content Should I Eat Before A Run?

Eat Before a Run

As stated earlier, carbohydrate is the most important nutrition that you need to consume as a pre-run meal. The levels of carb differ based on the intensity and the duration of your run. 

• For a simple run of below one hour, aim to get 15 grams of carbs. A majority of people can easily perform a three-mile run with just a small-carb source like fruit.

• For a longer or more robust workout, aim for thirty grams of carbs. If you are planning for a marathon, consume anywhere between 50 and 75 grams of carbs. 

• For runs that go for over 75 minutes, you need to carry some mid-run fuel with yourself. This is to restock your glycogen stores that may get depleted in between the runs. You should consume 30 grams to 60 grams of carbs per additional hour and add fluids and electrolytes.


The food you choose for a pre-run meal holds a lot of importance in determining your performance.  If you eat the wrong foods, it can make you uncomfortable or can lead to stomach discomfort.

The food is one that is high in carbohydrates and low in protein, fiber, and fat. Besides the food type, pay attention to the quantity to stay light yet satiated throughout the workout.